Monday, 1 January, 1945
The first day of the New Year and what a way to start it off. At about 0830 hours this morning we had a social call from Jerry in the form of about 30 aircraft which strafed the drome. They strafed everything in sight, the aircraft, hangars, dispersals and personnel and what a mess they made of things. They didn’t get away that easy. Three of our kites, flown and led by P/O Steve Butte, P/O Mac Reeves and F/S Lindsay respectively were just taking off on a patrol when Jerry appeared over the drome. Within minutes of becoming airborne, Butte shot down and destroyed three enemy aircraft, two ME 109s and one FW 190. Mac Reeves shot down and destroyed two FW 190s and Lindsay destroyed one ME 109 and probably destroyed a further ME 109. Considering the odds against them, it was a damn good show.
Tuesday, 2 January, 1945
A sweep of the Bruhl – Bayern area was all the flying we did today. Tomorrow we are to leave for England to attend a dive-bombing course at RAF Warmwell; that is weather permitting.
Wednesday, 3 January, 1945
The weather didn’t look very good this morning but this afternoon it cleared sufficiently enough to permit one Dakota carrying some of the ground crew to take off. The remainder of the Erks and the pilots will have to wait until tomorrow.
Thursday, 4 January, 1945
The weather cleared enough for the pilots and remaining ground crew to take off for England this morning and so here we are in England getting settled into our new quarters and getting ready to commence our course at the earliest possible moment.
Friday, 5 January, 1945
The weather today was very clear and, without ado, we got started on the course. We can safely say that, if the weather holds good, we should get in lots of flying time. If today is any indication of the amount of flying that we will be doing while we are here then we’re going to be too tired to get out at night.
Saturday, 6 January, 1945
A party to celebrate our arrival in England was held in the Mess last night and what a party it turned out to be. About a third of the Erks that came over with us to service our kites managed to get away on a 48-hour pass today. It’s quite a decent break for them as it’s the first time that they’ve been in England since going to the continent in June.
Sunday, 7 January, 1945
The course goes well and we’ve been told that if we keep up our scores, we will make a record for this course.
Monday, 8 January, 1945
Bags of flying were done today, the weather is holding good so far and instead of beating it for the nearest town at night time we’re quite glad to sit in the Mess and drink.
Tuesday, 9 January, 1945
Bags of flying again today and arrangements are being made for a party in celebration of the forthcoming marriage of F/O Mac MacLaren which is to take place this coming Saturday upon the cessation of this course.
Wednesday, 10 January, 1945
The weather holds good and to date we have made the highest score of any Squadron that completed this particular course. Good going fellas.
Thursday, 11 January, 1945
The Adj who came over with us from Belgium managed to get away to London for a few days. He came back today looking a little worse for the wear but nevertheless seems to have done some work in connection with some of the lads promotions. Congratulations are in order to our new F/Ls Red Thompson, Mac McLeod, Tommy Tomlinson, Reg Morris and to our new F/Os Mac Reeves and Dave Leslie. Good work Adj.
Friday, 12 January, 1945
It was decided last night that a proper celebration be held to wet the new rings of promotion and said celebration was held last night much to the sorrow of the lads this morning.
Saturday, 13 January, 1945
The course finished today and after all of our hard work, we came out on top with the highest score yet. All of the Squadron attended the wedding of F/O Mac McLeod this afternoon in Dorchester and afterwards the tea at the local hotel. We think that Mac had a proper send off on his taking the big plunge. Good luck to you and the wife Mac.
Sunday, 14 January, 1945
The Squadron took off at about 1100 hours this morning for our old stomping grounds at Brussels and, judging from some of the comments from several of the boys, they are only too glad to be going back there. The ground crew were left at Warmwell to await the arrivals of the Dakotas that are to take them back to Brussels.
Monday, January 15, 1945
After a very uneventful flight yesterday back to the continent, we are eager to get weaving again on operations. The ground crew are expected back some time today, weather permitting.
Tuesday, January 16, 1945
Still no ground crew have arrived and, as yet, haven’t done any flying since our return from England.
Wednesday, January 17, 1945
In the middle of a blinding snowstorm, the ground crew arrived from England today and judging from some of their comments after sitting around in England for three days waiting for transportation, they are only too glad to be back.
Thursday, January 18, 1945
We are now living on the airfield again, and after being billeted in a private home in Brussels almost ever since arriving here in November last, we find that we’d rather be in Brussels as the transportation effort in this country is pretty horrible.
Friday, January 19, 1945
Today the CO, S/L Collier recommended P/O Steve Butte for an immediate D.F.C. for the very good show he put up in front of Jerry’s effort on New Year’s day. Congrats Steve we hope you get the gong.
Saturday, January 20, 1945
A sweep of the Munster area this morning of 12 kites was our only flying effort today and then the weather closed down making further flying impossible. P/O Leslie returned today from two weeks sick leave, the aftermath of catching a severe cold.
Sunday, January 21, 1945
The weather again prevented us from doing much flying today, but however we did manage to get off on a combined fighter sweep and armed recce early this afternoon, it proved very uneventful and all our aircraft returned safely to base. F/L Gilmartin is off today for seven days leave in the U.K. Gilmartin, by the way, is the Squadron’s funnyman, and if anything should happen to him we’d feel pretty much lost.
Monday, January 22, 1945
Two fighter sweeps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and an escort VIP to England was the sum total of our efforts for today. On the fighter sweep this afternoon, the lads on the sweep saw the vapour trails of about six V.2’s, and also shot up a locomotive. All six kites had a go at the engine and it must have been left pretty much of a wreck after they’d finished with it.
Tuesday, January 23, 1945
The weather was very kind to us today and we managed to do quite a bit of flying. All very uneventful shows outside of the first one this afternoon when the kites ran into quite a bit of flak over Stadkuyl area, wounding P/O Chuck Shannon slightly in the rear end and in the arm. He did manage to get his kite back to base and landed OK. Tough luck Chuck.
Wednesday, January 24, 1945
Thursday, January 25, 1945
Friday, January 26, 1945
The weather closed in again which resulted in no flying for the day. The boys spent the time playing the inevitable games of bridge in the mess and attending the odd lecture on identification of enemy armoured fighting vehicles.
Saturday, January 27, 1945
The weather, if anything, is worse than ever today and the boys are getting a little browned off with the inactivity. Some of the brighter spirits went into town for the evening and came back slightly more hilarious than when they left.
Sunday, January 28, 1945
Duff weather again prevented us from doing any flying, but the best news of the day was the notification of the award of an immediate D.F.C. to P/O Steve Butte for his outstanding show on New Year’s day when Jerry decided to pay us a visit. Good show Steve and congratulations for a well-earned gong.
Monday, January 29, 1945
What a war, no flying as usual today. The weather is against us and it’s a very dirty day outside. The boys are more than browned off with sitting around and playing cards and writing letters.
Tuesday, January 30, 1945
More lectures on enemy fighting vehicles, more card playing and letter writing was the sum total of our war effort today. The weather, as usual, was no good for flying and the warmest place is indoors. The weather here has a very familiar tinge of Canada to it.
Wednesday, January 31, 1945
A big thaw set in today and prevented us from getting airborne. Then, later on in the evening when F/L Dick Reeves went into town to pick up the CO, two unidentified soldiers in U.S. uniforms tried to steal the Squadron jeep and in preventing this, Dick was shot in the left foot. Tough luck Dick; guess you’ll be out of this war for good now. Dick had almost finished his second tour of operational flying and was ‘A’ Flight Commander.
Thursday, February 1, 1945
Duff weather prevented us from doing any flying to day, so it was spent in the mess playing bridge and other card games. Some of the boys went into Brussels to the Turkish Baths in the afternoon. F/L’s Tosh and Todd proceeded on leave, Todd to England and Tosh to the French Alps.
Friday, February 2, 1945
Two shows today, the first one an armed recce to the Munster Rhine area. The weather was very poor and the show uneventful. The second was an area cover to bombers over the Euskrichen area. F/L E.A. Fleming was posted to the Squadron to fill a Flight Commander vacancy, so used by F/L Dick Reeves before being posted non effective sick. We also welcome a new pilot to the Squadron in the person of WO1 Boudreau.
Saturday, February 3, 1945
Our one and only do today, target cover to bombers in the Dahn area. Just after take off, F/O Tegerdine’s A/C engine cut while he was over Brussels and having no place to put his kite down, landed on the roof of an apartment house. He wrote off the kite completely but came out of it with a couple of cuts and bruises. Lucky Tegerdine.
Sunday, February 4, 1945
No flying today, weather was very poor mostly rain squalls and low cloud. F/L ‘Red’ Thompson finished his second tour of operational flying, having completed his first tour on Malta.
Monday, February 5, 1945
Poor weather again prevented us from doing any flying. Another new pilot was posted to the Squadron, F/S Arsenault. Nothing much exciting doing at all, the boys paid another visit to the Turkish Baths in Brussels.
Tuesday, February 6, 1945
One big show today when the whole Wing, comprising 44, aircraft did area cover to bombers in the Berg Gladbach area. It proved very uneventful and the boys were glad to get back to base.
Wednesday, February 7, 1945
Duff weather today prevented us from doing any flying. F/L Tosh and Todd are back from leave today, ‘Stew’ Tosh looking very tanned and fit after spending seven days leave in the French Alps skiing and skating.
Thursday, February 8, 1945
Very uneventful flying today, escort to bombers, no flak, no fighters, no nothing, this war gets less exciting every day. F/L Reg Morris and P/O Bob Shannon proceeded on leave today, Morris to England and Shannon to the French Alps. Our CO, S/L Collier, was given powers of subordinate commander in order that he may try the airmen of the attached Echelon and the Squadron for disciplinary offences.
Friday, February 9, 1945
F/O Tegerdine returned to unit today after a week in hospital following his remarkable escape on the third, looking none the worse for his experience of crash landing on a roof in Brussels. Very uneventful flying today.
Saturday, February 10, 1945
An armed recce in the Lingen Zwolle area proved to be very uneventful, nothing much seen to shoot up. F/O Tegerdine off to England on seven days sick leave. The Squadron Orderly room became the proud owners of a mobile orderly room today. It’s about time we had something for the Orderly room of this nature as previously they’ve set up house keeping in any old place at all and the disused ambulance that they fell owners to, just suits the job swell.
Sunday, February 11, 1945
One show today and it almost washed out one of our most popular members of the Squadron. Just after take off, F/L Wally Dove’s aircraft engine cut and he was forced to make a crash landing in a nearby field, luckily he managed to get clear of Brussels before having to land. There’s been quite a bit of trouble lately with aircraft engines, owing to a new grade of fuel being used and extra boost added.
Monday, February 12, 1945
No flying again today. The Squadron Orderly room set up housekeeping,or Orderly Room keeping, at the dispersal area again. Quite like old times again, the last time the Squadron Orderly room was located at dispersal was at Tangmere in England early this year. The Adjt and his clerks seem well satisfied with their latest piece of scrounging.
Tuesday, February 13, 1945
Word was received today that the Adjt will soon be tour expired and will be leaving us, his tour of service overseas finished. Guess it will be a bowler hat for you Adjt when you get back home.
Wednesday, February 14, 1945
Three shows today, weather very good over base but not quite so good over enemy territory. Eight ME262’s seen and we tried to engage them but Jerry wasn’t having any and dived for the nearest cloud cover. The boys went into town tonight to the usual hang out. Rumours of another move in the very near future.
Thursday, February 15, 1945
After a very good day for flying yesterday, the weather closed in again today and flying became abortive. The day was spent in the mess playing cards etc.
Friday, February 16, 1945
Our CO, S/L Collier, finished his second tour today or should we say was taken off because of being tired. He had 132 hrs completed on his second tour, tough luck Skipper. Our new CO is F/L H.M.P. Zary DFC of 416 Squadron. Welcome new CO, we hope you’ll be as good as Jim Collier.
Saturday, February 17, 1945
The boys are feeling quite sorry to see our former CO, S/L Collier, go. He was without a doubt the most popular CO we’ve had since S/L Bob Buckham. Jim Collier had a knack of knitting together a bunch of lads into a formidable fighting team, of holding their interest and getting things done. We feel that it will be some time before we have another CO as good as he.
Sunday, February 18, 1945
No flying again today, poor weather with low cloud prevented us from getting off the ground. More and stronger rumours of another move nearer the German border somewhere in the vicinity of Venlo.
Monday, February 19, 1945
Poor weather again today for flying, so the day was spent in the mess playing the usual games of bridge etc. Arrangements are being made for a farewell party for our old CO, S/L Jim Collier, tomorrow night in Brussels.
Tuesday, February 20, 1945
And still the weather is against us for flying today. Tonight, the Squadron went to the RAF Officers Club in Brussels to say goodbye to S/L Jim Collier, and what a party it turned out to be. It broke up around 2300 hrs and there wasn’t a sober person in the crowd. Good Luck Jim Collier in your future flying.
Wednesday, February 21, 1945
The day dawned bright and clear and that meant that there would be bags of flying, which is exactly how it turned out. The effects of the previous night’s party did not affect the boys in the slightest as they were all anxious to get into the air after almost a week of no flying. There was no opposition from Jerry and only some half hearted flak.
Thursday, February 22, 1945
Another grand day for flying and we lost one of our most popular members over enemy territory. F/O Tegerdine, he of the roof landing fame earlier on in the month, had to bale out over enemy territory when his engine packed up. He was last seen to land on the ground and start gathering his parachute. Tough Luck Teg, hope to be seeing you soon though, as this war won’t be so long now before it’s finished.
Friday, February 23, 1945
Today was another grand day for flying with bright and cloudless skies. S/L Collier departed today for England. We move to Petit Brogel near Eindhoven on March the first, some fifty miles nearer the front, and a lot of the boys are going to be sorry to leave Brussels as, according to all reports, they’ve made some pretty good friends with the Brussels people.
Saturday, February 24, 1945
Another Saturday with bags of flying although the weather over the front wasn’t any too good. Opposition was practically nil and flying uneventful.
Sunday, February 25, 1945
Poor flying weather, but we carried on with front line patrols all day. With our next move coming up within the next few days, we busied ourselves in our spare moments getting things packed and organized.
Monday, February 26, 1945
Duff weather, with rain and low cloud made it impossible to fly at all today. Early in the afternoon, the Squadron was released and the boys headed for Brussels for one last fling before heading for the sticks on our next move.
Tuesday, February 27, 1945
Nil flying again today due to poor weather. The day was spent in packing and loafing around the mess in the hopes that the weather might clear sufficiently for us to fly in the afternoon.
Wednesday, February 28, 1945
One bombing effort this morning which was aborted due to dense cloud over the target, was all the flying that was done until late afternoon as the weather closed in shortly after we landed and did not clear again until late afternoon. Tomorrow the ‘A’ party of the Echelon move to our new Airdrome.
The Health of the Squadron remains at its same high level.
Total number of sorties for the month of February 1945 – 301
No. 403 Squadron Strength and Flying Times for the month of February 1945
Officers Flying 26 Officer Ground 2
Airmen Flying 3 Airmen Ground 12 RCAF
U.S.A. Personnel: NIL. Our Casualties for Month:
F/O O.R.M. Tegerdine Missing
Enemy Casualties for Month: Nil
Flying times for Month.
Operational Hours 477:15
Non operational Hours 11:45
Thursday, March 1, 1945
‘A’ party of the echelon left this morning for our new airfield. The extra pilots and Orderly Room staff are to follow tomorrow. Three operations were flown today, the first one at 0812 hours a fighter sweep, the second at 0817 hours as cover to 416 Squadron on a dive bombing effort, the third at 1717 hours another fighter sweep, 1st operation 5 sorties, 2nd operation 6 sorties 3rd 11 sorties.
Friday, March 2, 1945
The extra pilots and orderly room staff arrived today at our new airfield this morning after a very uneventful trip from Brussels. The remaining pilots are to land here after the last sortie today. Two operations were flown today the first at 0731 hours a dive bombing effort, the second at 1050 hours a rail interdiction with bombs.
Saturday, March 3, 1945
Today saw everyone settled in to their new quarters, consisting of Nissan Huts, quite an improvement over tents but not quite as good as our last billets. Tomorrow, some of the pilots intend to pay a visit to Roermond not very far away and perhaps get into Germany itself. Three operations were flown today the first at 0645 hours a fighter sweep 6 sorties, 2nd operation at 1253 hours another fighter sweep 12 sorties, and the third at 1631 hours an armed recce 9 sorties.
Sunday, March 4, 1945
About eight pilots, who were off today,went to Roermond and came back with stories of utter desolation and destruction. They also brought back a Jerry car in running order and sufficient furniture to furnish the pilots dispersal and the billets. Nil operations today.
Monday, March 5, 1945
After their very successful trip to Roermond yesterday, some of the more adventurous types who were off duty today decided to have a go at Munchin Gladbach in Germany, which by the way has only been captured a few days ago. They came back later in the day with stories of destruction and desolation that stagger the imagination. Roermond, they say, is a very good looking city compared to Gladbach. Nil operations today.
Tuesday, March 6, 1945
The Squadron is now the possessor of four German cars, three of which were brought back from Gladbach yesterday and more furniture for the dispersal and billets, According to the stories of some of our pilots who were at Gladbach yesterday, the destruction to the city has been carried out over a long period of time, probably during the raids by the RAF on the Ruhr Valley which isn’t so very far away. The odd few Germans civilians who were encountered were still as arrogant as ever. Nil operations today.
Wednesday, March 7, 1945
Cologne has just been captured according to reports late last night, so nothing would do today but some of the boys who were off duty must visit the place. So accordingly, a truck and a jeep were organized and the boys set off intending to stay overnight if possible. Nil operations today.
Thursday, March 8, 1945
Late tonight the boys who went to Cologne yesterday returned to camp looking very dirty and tired, the first Canadian Airmen to enter Cologne. They spent the day roaming around the city and even got so far as the banks of the Rhine itself. The night was spent with the Americans in a house without any windows whatsoever. Nil operations today.
Friday, March 9, 1945
After no flying for the last few days we finally got airborne today, glad of it too, because this loafing around with nothing to do gets us down. Two operations were flown today the first at 1020 hours; a sweep of the Osnabruck area and the second at 1550 hours an escort mission. 1st operation – 12 sorties with one early return – mechanical. 2nd operation – 12 sorties with 2 early returns mechanical.
Saturday, March 10, 1945
Poor weather made flying impossible today, so we spent the day in the dispersal playing bridge etc., F/O George Nadon and P/O Steve Butte DFC finished their second and first tours of operational flying today. Nil operations.
Sunday, March 11, 1945
Poor weather today confined our flying to a little practice flying and one operational effort. Plans are being made for a bit of a do in the mess tonight in honour of Steve Butte and George Nadon. The Doc, our Sqn MO who is also the Bar Officer of the Mess, promised us we could have a couple of bottles of Scotch and a few bottles of champagne. One operation was flown today at 1400 hours, a sweep of the Hamm Minden area. 12 sorties were flown.
Monday, March 12, 1945
More practice flying today. The Squadron is rapidly assuming the name of No. 403 O.T.U. with all this practice flying. We finished the day off with a patrol of the Nijmegen Goch area at 1805 hours. It was quite a party last night with some of the boys getting to bed in the wee hours of the morning. One operation was flown today at 1805 hours – 4 sorties were flown.
Tuesday, March 13, 1945
More and more practice flying, wotta’ life, it’s worse than any O.T.U. The Adjt’s relief arrived today and we haven’t seen our old Adjt smile so much since he came to the Sqn. Our new Adjt is to be F/O Jack Bennigan, just new from Canada. One escort trip completed in the early afternoon.
Wednesday, March 14, 1945
Hazy weather around here, but not bad for flying. A little formation practice done and two operations flown in the afternoon in the Nordhorn-Munster and Enchede-Munster areas. The old Adjt, F/O Birchnall, is getting itchy to be on his way home, and is busy getting the new Adjt genned up on the routine.
Thursday, March 15, 1945
Weather lovely – clear and warm. Two operational trips flown, both escort. R124758 WO.1 G.V. Boudreau has been reported missing. He was seen to make a safe forced landing behind the line so here’s hoping he makes it back safely one day.
Friday, March 16, 1945
An old timer with this Squadron, J14030 F/L H.R. Finley, reported for duty to-day. Finished a tour with us July/44 and is raring to go on his second. P/O Butte, DFC tour complete, posted to 83 GSU ferry pool, and F/L G.R. Nadon, second tour completed, left today for Bournemouth and repatriation to Canada. A dull day, no flying carried out.
Saturday, 17 March, 1945
A little rain in the afternoon, cloudy. One operational escort and one fighter sweep in the Rhine Munster area carried out. The boys had a real bang up at a mess party to-night, lots of liquor which had been gathered from all over the country the past few weeks, but lots of disappointment when only four nurses showed up. Consequently all drinking and no dancing.
Sunday, March 18, 1945
A dark cloudy day. No operational flying carried out. The CO, S/L Zary, is sporting a new Opal to-day, a green finished German car. The boys were fortunate to be off ops to-day, as a few hangovers are yet to be seen from the previous night. Afternoon was spent polishing up their spits. F/O Birchnall, the old Adjt. left for the U.K. today for repatriation to Canada.
Monday, March 19, 1945
Two operational sweeps carried out in the morning and afternoon, both in the Rhine-Osnabruck area. Very good flying weather. CAN.J89351 P/O H.C. Byrd was reported missing within enemy territory. Details unknown. Pretty quiet otherwise around the Squadron, a little bridge being played in the off hours.
Tuesday, March 20, 1945
Fair weather, one operational escort to the Haltern area carried out, keeping the boys in the air pretty well all day. Uneventful. Doc (F/L) Carsons is around the dispersal with his ‘noc’ needles again and some of the boys will be u/s for a day or two. Flight Commander ‘Cap’ Foster returned with a really beautiful alpine tan to-day after a skiing holiday in the Alps.
Wednesday, March 21, 1945
A clear day, but no operational flying carried out by the Squadron. The day was spent in the dispersal playing bridge, and reading. A baseball team is emerging amongst the pilots, and we have already been challenged by 443 Squadron. A little ball practice done.
Thursday, March 22, 1945
Lots of aches and pains from the ball practice yesterday, but well worth the effort. 443 Squadron lost to us 13 to 9 in the baseball game this afternoon. 443 stood the beers in the mess at night. No operations carried out. Flying pretty well scrubbed to-day with the exception of some practice and tests.
Friday, March 23, 1945
A beautiful clear day. Three operational trips completed. Uneventful. Rather a quiet day around the dispersal, everyone keyed up and wondering when the ‘big push’ at the front will be coming off, which is rumoured very soon. All the boys are very keen to chalk a few Jerry’s to their credit, and see real action soon.
Saturday, March 24, 1945
The ‘big push’ is on. Boys were all up very early in the dawn in readiness to take their part when called upon. A glorious day for all, especially the pilots, who have been waiting so long to see a little action. No victories scored by us, very little of the enemy seen in the air, which was a little disappointing to most. Ten operational trips made – weather recce, dive bombing, and armed recce. Two new pilots, R195315 F/S K.S. Watchorn and R144093 F/S J.C. Pickering reported for duty, and greeted into the Squadron with a hearty welcome.
Sunday, March 25, 1945
Another heavy day of flying, and not much slack time amongst the Squadron. Five operational trips, all patrols completed. Uneventful. F/O F.B. Gillis force landed amongst the paratroopers and gliders across the Rhine, and was seen to land safely. Word came through that he was safe, and would be returning to the unit.
Monday, March 26, 1945
Flying operations began early dawn, and carried out steadily all day. Ten operational trips completed, all of which were patrols. The pilots are really getting the hours packed in these days, with a few near completion of their tours.
Tuesday, March 27, 1945
A very dull and foggy day, no flying carried out in the Squadron. The day was spent in dispersal checking maps and following the movements of the ground troops across the Rhine. F/O F.B. Gillis returned to the Squadron, none the worse for his experience of the 25th.
Wednesday, March 28, 1945
J87156 F/O M. Reeves reported missing (believed killed) in a crash in the early afternoon. Eight operational patrols carried out, tanks, trucks and gun positions attacked. The boys are really in the groove these days, and giving the Hun everything they’ve got when their turn comes. Many wagers around the dispersal between the pilots on who will get the first enemy aircraft in this show.
Thursday, March 29, 1945
A very dull day, no flying carried on in the Squadron. Day was spent around dispersal playing bridge, and reading. There’s no holding the pilot’s back, and a day like this rather depresses the majority.
Friday, March 30, 1945
Three dive bombing operations carried out on buildings and rail centres. All very successful. The Squadron will be moving into Holland tomorrow, and a great rush around the quarters in preparing to move off in the morning. While the stay at this airfield was short lived, the pilots are all anxious to move in closer to that front line, and glad of the move.
Saturday, 31 March, 1945
The Squadron moved this morning from B.90 to B.78 Airfield, Eindhoven. Move uneventful. The new quarters are superb to the Nissan huts, being set up in brick houses, and plenty of room for all. The squadron dispersal also seems to be more suitable in its layout. Two dive bombing operations in the Osnabruck area carried out, and one patrol of the Bocholt-Coesfeld-Stadtlohn area. Can/J8397 F/L E.G. Aitchison reported missing on the first operation. Pilot stated that he was going to bale out, but was not seen to do so due to low cloud. Can/J15922 F/L T.S. Todd, also reported missing on the third operation, and was seen to bale out safely and touch down OK
The Squadron remains in its good fighting spirit, and morale good amongst the pilots.
Total number of sorties for the month of March, 1945 – 551
No. 403 Squadron Strength and Flying Times for the month of March 1945.
Officers Flying 20 Officer Ground 2
Airmen Flying 5 Airmen Ground 6
U.S.A. Personnel: Nil
Our Casualties for Month:
Can/R124758 WO 1. Boudreau G.V. Missing 15-3-45
Can/J89351 P/O H.C. Byrd Missing 19-3-45
Can/J87156 F/O M. Reeves Missing (Believed Killed)
Can/J8387 F/L E.G. Aitchison Missing 31-3-45
Flying Times for Month
Operational Hours : 804:45
Non Operational Hours : 107:25
Auster : Nil
Enemy Casualties for Month: Nil
Sunday, April 1, 1945
A dull cloudy day, some rain. Three operational trips carried out, patrols in the Emmerich, Xanten, Bocholt, Bochum, Ahaus, Coesfeld areas. 1st operation 12 sorties; 2nd operation – 12 sorties; 3rd operation – 4 sorties. Uneventful. The pilots are now well ‘dug in’ in their new surroundings, and seem to like this airfield a great deal better than old B.90.
Monday, April 2, 1945
Another dull rainy day. One patrol carried out in the Emmerich, Wesel, Rhine and Munster area. Uneventful. 12 sorties altogether. Two new pilots reported to the Squadron for duty, J22222 F/L Rispler and JJ9081 F/L J.D. Lindsay who is an old timer on the Squadron, finishing his first tour with 403. A great deal of the day was spent in the dispersal playing bridge.
Tuesday, April 3, 1945
Another dull day and poor flying weather for operations. One patrol carried out proving uneventful, 12 sorties. Day was spent around dispersal playing more bridge, and discussion on the war and movements of the ground forces.
Wednesday, April 4, 1945
The weather is just not breaking for us, with no clear weather since arriving at B.78. Cloudy and dull again, with two dive bombing trips and two patrols carried out -uneventful. 1st operation – 12 sorties, 2nd operation – 12 sorties, 3rd operation – 12 sorties with one return – mechanical; 4th operation – 12 sorties.
Thursday, April 5, 1945
Three operational trips flown, but weather still poor. 1st operation – 12 sorties, 2nd operation 4 sorties, 3rd operation – 4 sorties, recalled due to weather. Uneventful. A bang up party in the Officer’s Mess this evening, with all the neighbouring Dutch girls showing up, and 403 in full strength. A real success.
Friday, April 6, 1945
Three weather recce trips flown in the Rhine area, uneventful, with poor weather setting in again, a few rain storms in the early evening. 1st operation – 4 sorties, 2nd operation – 4 sorties, 3rd operation – 4 sorties. The pilots were busy scrubbing down their aircraft and polishing them up a little.
Saturday, April 7, 1945
No. 6403 Servicing Echelon invited all pilots and personnel of 403 Squadron to a party held in Eindhoven to-night. A real success and it afforded the opportunity of the pilots mixing with their ground personnel of the servicing echelon. A really warm day, with visibility unlimited, and all the pilots eager to get on with their job again after nearly a week of poor flying weather. Four operational trips completed, all patrols in the Lingen-Rhine area. 1st operation – 6 sorties, one return – mechanical; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties.
Sunday, April 8, 1945
A beautiful clear and sunny day, with two dive bombing efforts carried out in the Cloppenburg area. Uneventful, but a few houses hit. 1st operation – 12 sorties, 2nd operation – 12 sorties. Advance party left this afternoon for the new airfield at B.100 near Goch, Germany, and the Squadron expects to be moving off soon.
Monday, April 9, 1945
Another clear day and flying resumed fairly steady. Four patrols completed in the Fürstenau-Lemford area. Uneventful. 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties, 4th operation – 6 sorties. The eighth Canadian Victory Loan was launched in the Squadron today and the boys are really behind it for the first day of bond sales.
Tuesday, April 10, 1945
The Squadron is getting impatient to get on with our next move to the new airfield, as the advance party have now been gone two days. One escort and two armed recces completed. 1st operation – 12 sorties; 2nd operation 12 sorties; 3rd operation 12 sorties.
Wednesday, April 11, 1945
The Squadron finally got their movement order, the pilots flying their aircraft down to B.100 airfield in the late afternoon, near Goch Germany. Their effects are following them by transport, so it’s to be under the canvas again for a few nights at least. Everyone is keen on getting into enemy territory, and just that much closer to Jerry’s back door. This is apparently only a temporary move, where we will eventually end up is not yet known. Four operational trips flown, patrols of the Meppen/Fürstenau area. 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties, 4th operation – 6 sorties.
Thursday, April 12, 1945
Continued operations from B.100, three operational trips flown, armed recces in the Oldenberg area. 1st operation – 12 sorties, 2nd operation – 12 sorties, 3rd operation – 8 sorties. Three new pilots arrived on the Squadron today, J29779 F/O A.A. Roy, J39160 F/O R. Young, and J40853 F/O W.V.J. Burdis, all beginning their first tour.
Friday, April 13, 1945
The pilots and the Spits arrived from B.100 to the Squadron’s new location at B.114 near Diepholtz, Germany and every one is in a jumble trying to locate quarters and to get temporarily settled. The field looks a pretty fair one, but outside of that, Jerry has taken care that nothing very useful was left behind. Practically all buildings and hangars have been blasted, and a lot of intentional damage everywhere. Nil operations flown this day.
Saturday, April 14, 1945
Getting a little ‘dug in’ on the new airfield and the Squadron is again operating normally after this second move. A good flying day with two operational trips carried out; armed recces in the Cloppenburg and Oldenberg areas. 1st operation – 8 sorties, 2nd operation – 8 sorties.
Sunday, April 15, 1945
Carried on with the usual routine, still fair flying weather. Two armed recces completed in the Wesermunde-Lüneburg and Bremen areas. Uneventful. 1st operation – 10 sorties, 2nd operation – 10 sorties. Lots of MET to be seen along the roadways, but the boys are after a large convoy, and just waiting their time for a big kill.
Monday, April 16, 1945
A beautiful flying day, and one of the best kills the Squadron has had for many a month, many MET destroyed in the five armed recce operations carried out and the pilots are in very high spirits having so much action in one day. Also one patrol in the Celle area, proving uneventful. 1st operation – 8 sorties; 2nd operation – 8 sorties; 3rd operation – 8 sorties; 4th operation – 7 sorties; 5th operation – 8 sorties; 6th operation – 4 sorties.
Tuesday, April 17, 1945
J40853 F/O W.V.J. Burdis was killed as a result of injuries received when he crash-landed just about eight miles N.E. of here. Just his third trip with the Squadron, and really rough luck. A stormy unsettled day, but managed two armed recces in the Bremen-Hamburg-Ülzen areas. F/L J.D. Lindsay scored a hit on a FW 190 of the five sighted south of Hamburg, but it got away in the smoke and haze. 1st operation – 8 sorties, 2nd operation – 8 sorties.
Wednesday, April 18, 1945
Good weather again, and flying continuing with the usual keenness shown around the Squadron. Not much free time for the pilots now, and the few hours that they are down between trips are usually spent sitting in the sun at the edge of the airfield. F/O Burdis was buried today in the civil cemetery near here, with a representation of the Squadron pilots present. Three operations in the Hamburg-Salzwedel area and a patrol in the Bremen area carried out. 1st operation – 8 sorties, 2nd operation – 8 sorties, 3rd operation – 3 sorties.
Thursday, April 19, 1945
Another very good flying day, and the Squadron maintaining a high average of flying hours. Several of the pilots, including some second tour, are looking forward to their repatriation now, with the hours mounting up so quickly. A/V/M Johnson on his visit here made the statement that no Canadian fighter Squadrons would be used in the Far East campaign, which has taken the furrows off many a brow around here. Eight operations flown today, with a great many MET, loco’s destroyed and enemy aircraft attacked, but no strikes seen. 1st operation – 8 sorties with one early return R/T trouble; 2nd operation – 4 sorties; 3rd operation – 8 sorties; 4th operation – 4 sorties; 5th operation – 8 sorties; 6th operation – 8 sorties with one early return mechanical trouble; 7th operation – 4 sorties with one early return, R/T trouble; 8th operation – 4 sorties.
Friday, April 20, 1945
A shower system was set up on the airfield and a laundry service also in the nearby town. Many of us enjoyed our first good wash and clean clothes since arriving here. F/L J.D. Lindsay, DFC, one of our keener types, left us today to take over new duties as a Flight Commander in 416 Squadron our next door neighbour on the airfield. The boys are sorry to see Doug go, and wished him lots of success with his new gang of pilots. An excellent flying day, operations continuing late in the evening now with the longer daylight hours. 11 operations completed, all patrols. 1st operation – 4 sorties; 2nd operation – 4 sorties; 3rd operation – 4 sorties; 4th operation – 4 sorties; 5th operation – 4 sorties; 6th operation – 4 sorties; 7th operation – 4 sorties; 8th operation – 4 sorties; 9th operation – 4 sorties; 10th operation – 4 sorties; 11th operation – 4 sorties.
Saturday, April 21, 1945
A dull and rainy day with no flying done in the morning. Four operations, armed recces completed in the afternoon, with much loco’s, troops, and transport destroyed. S/L Zary (J.9261) and J.87255 F/O D. Leslie each bagged and destroyed an ME 109, making a total of seven destroyed and two damaged for S/L Zary and the first destroyed for F/O Leslie. The boys had a bit of a celebration in the mess at night over these counts. Both of these victories scored on the 2nd operation – armed recce in the Schwerin-Neumünster area. Only the ME 109’s sighted. 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties, 4th operation – 6 sorties.
Sunday, April 22, 1945
Another dull and rainy day, though we managed to get two patrols in. Both in the Bremen Hamburg area and both were uneventful. 1st operation – 4 sorties, 2nd operation – 4 sorties. It was very quiet around the Squadron, with a lot of the fellows off flying duties, playing bridge and poker up in the quarters. More or less of a restful Sunday.
Monday, April 23, 1945
A good flying day, with the gang airborne at 0530 hours right through to 2037 hours in the evening, which was a very tiring day for most. The Squadron has been flying with two pilots short up to today, and when J.7599 F/L C.S. Yarnell and J.11471 F/L E.O. Doyle walked in and reported for duty, they were greeted with open arms. Both Second tour boys, so they pretty well know what the score is around here, and should be flying their ops very soon. Fourteen operations flown, all patrols, mainly in the Hamburg- Bremen areas. Another two victories scored in the Squadron on the early 0530 trip. F/L H.R. Finley, J.14030 and F/L W.N. Dove, J.11000 each bagged an FW 190, giving F/L Finley a total of three destroyed and one damaged and F/L Dove his first victory. These last four victories in the Squadron have really put the fellows in strong spirits, and it is no longer a case of who’s going to get up in the morning, as it is quite a scramble with the Huns flying about. J.19939 F/O A.J. McLaren, not yet returned, made a crashed landing safely, but no word of his safety yet. 1st operation – 4 sorties; 2nd operation – 4 sorties; 3rd operation – 4 sorties; 4th operation – 4 sorties; 5th operation – 4 sorties; 6th operation – 4 sorties; 7th operation – 4 sorties; 8th operation – 4 sorties; 9th operation – 4 sorties; 10th operation – 4 sorties; 11th operation – 4 sorties; 12th operation – 4 sorties; 13th operation – 4 sorties; 14th operation – 4 sorties.
Tuesday, April 24, 1945
A beautiful day with thirteen patrols completed in the Rothem-Weser/Weser Bridge area. 1st operation – 2 sorties; 2nd operation – 2 sorties; 3rd operation – 2 sorties; 4th operation – 2 sorties; 5th operation – 2 sorties; 6th operation – 2 sorties; 7th operation – 2 sorties; 8th operation – 2 sorties; 9th operation – 2 sorties; 10th operation – 2 sorties; 11th operation – 2 sorties; 12th operation – 2 sorties; 13th operation – 3 sorties. No word as yet on F/L A.J. McLaren, and he has been reported as missing. J14030 F/L H.R. Finley transferred to 443 Squadron, and is going to hold a Flight Commander’s position there.
Wednesday, April 25, 1945
Another beautiful flying day and the Squadron really went to town on the Hun today, claiming three destroyed and five damaged. A sure celebration in the mess to-night with these added victories to the Squadron’s credit. Four operations flown, armed recces in the Stade-Bremen areas. 1st operation – 8 sorties; 2nd operation – 8 sorties; 3rd operation – 8 sorties, 4th operation – 8 sorties. Word has come that the advance party will be moving off to our new airfield tomorrow. Victories scored are as follows: Destroyed F/O R.C. Shannon – 1 FW 189; F/L A.E. Fleming – 1 ME 111; F/O D. Leslie – unidentified aircraft believed to be FW 189. Damaged F/L E.O. Doyle – 1 ME 262; S/L Zary – 1 ME 262; and 1 JU 88; F/L R. Morris – 1 ME 262; F/S J.C. Pickering, F/L F.W. Town and F/O J.R. Baker sharing 1 DO 26.
Thursday, April 26, 1945
A few of the Squadron pilot’s who won’t be flying up the new airfield departed today by car, and the Orderly Room was also in the advance party in order to get organized when the majority of the Squadron flies up along with “B” party. Another good flying day, three armed recces flown in the Neumunster area. 1st operation – 8 sorties, 2nd operation – 8 sorties, 3rd operation – 8 sorties.
Friday, April 27, 1945
A dull, cloudy and rainy day. One patrol carried out in the Bremen Hamburg area – 4 sorties, abortive due to weather. R130382 WO1 Hallett D.M. a new pilot reported in to the Squadron this afternoon, first tour pilot. We will be moving off to the new airfield, B154 near Soltau Germany, about one hundred miles north east of here.
Saturday, April 28, 1945
The Squadron pilots flew up to the new ‘drome’ this morning, their effects and the ground personnel moving off in convoy in the early afternoon. Another victory in the Squadron to-day, F/L L. Foster destroying 1 DO 217 just near the new aerodrome. This gives ‘Cap’ Foster three destroyed to his credit and one damaged. One weather recce and eight patrols completed. 1st operation – 2 sorties; 2nd operation – 4 sorties; 3rd operation – 4 sorties; 4th operation – 4 sorties; 5th operation – 4 sorties; 6th operation – 4 sorties; 7th operation – 4 sorties; 8th operation – 4 sorties with one early return, mechanical trouble; 9th operation – 4 sorties.
Sunday, April 29, 1945
A fair flying day, two patrols in the bridgehead are completed. 1st operation – 2 sorties, 2nd operation – 2 sorties. Uneventful. J29149 F/O F.W. Town is slated as tour expired, and is feeling rather bad in having to quit at this time before the ‘show’ is over here in Germany. All the boys are in very high spirits over the victories scored recently and really keen to get all their scoring in before it’s too late. Quarters on the new airfield for the Squadron are fairly congested, but in a wooden building which is over and above what we expected here. The dispersal is about a mile off the quarters, and set up in a marquis tent, which means a great deal of running back and forth each day. 3rd operation – 4 sorties.
Monday, April 30, 1945
A very cold day, a little hail falling and rather miserable flying weather with a low ceiling. Three armed recces and one patrol near the Bridgehead completed. 1st operation – 8 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 8 sorties with three early returns; one lost in cloud when in formation, one RT trouble with one escort back to the airfield; 4th operation – 7 sorties. Another victory to wind up this month with F/L A.E. Fleming destroying 1 ME 108; ‘Al’s’ second this week. J87984 F/O M. Silver, a new pilot, reported in this afternoon, starting his first tour.
The Squadron morale remains at a high peak, with the numerous victories scored recently, some of the boys trying to fly every trip in the hope of increasing their scores.
Total number of Sorties for the month of April 1945 – 747
No. 403 Squadron strength and flying times for the month of April 1945
Officer – Flying 22 Officer Ground – 2
Airman – Flying 5 Airman Ground – 4
U.S.A. Personnel Nil
Flying times for Month Aircraft on Strength
Operational Hours 1079.05 SM 671 TB 752
Non-Operational Hours 49.30 SM 421 SM 285
Auster Nil SM 190 SM 203
1128.35 SM 426 TD 130
TD 141 SM 316
TD 286 SM 308
TD 289 TB 340
TB 630 TD 257
TB 922 TD 114
Casualties for Month
Can/J40853 F/O W.V.J. Burdis, killed 17-4-45
Can/J19939 F/O A.J. McLaren, Missing 23-4-45
Enemy Casualties for Month
1 FW 190 Damaged F/L J.D. Lindsay 17-4-45
1 ME 109 Destroyed S/L H.P.M. Zary 21-4-45
1 ME 109 Destroyed F/O D. Leslie 21-4-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed F/L H.R. Findley 23-4-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed F/L W.N. Dove 23-4-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed F/O R.C. Shannon 25-4-45
1 ME 262 Damaged S/L H.P.M. Zary 25-4-45
1 JU 88 Damaged S/L H.P.M. Zary 25-4-45
1 ME 262 Damaged F/L E.C. Doyle 25-4-45
1 HE 111 Destroyed F/L A.E. Fleming 25-4-45
1 DO 26 Damaged shared by F/O J.R. Baker,
F/O F.W. Town,
F/S J.C. Pickering 25-4-45
1 DO 217 Destroyed F/L L. Foster 28-4-45
1 ME 108 Destroyed F/L A.E. Fleming 30-4-45
1 unidentified a/c destroyed (possible FW 189) F/O D. Leslie 23-4-45
(A.E. Fleming), Flight Lieutenant,
No. 403 Squadron (RCAF)
Tuesday, May 1, 1945
A fair flying day, with a little rain in the morning. The Squadron had a really big thrash at the Hun this morning with two enemy aircraft destroyed, on e probable destroyed and eight damaged. Victories as follows: J87255 F/O D. Leslie – 1 FW 190 Damaged; R176795 WO2 Neitz R.C. – 1 FW 190 destroyed and two FW 190’s damaged; J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon – 1 FW 190 probable destroyed and 3 FW 190’s damaged; J39160 F/O R. Young – 1 FW 190 destroyed; J222XXX F/L C.L. Rispler – 2 FW 190’s damaged. Seven patrols carried out on the Bridgehead – 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties.
Wednesday, May 2, 1945
A fair flying day with another victory scored in the Squadron. J29144 F/O F.W. Town who has now been given an extension on his tour, bagged an HE 111, his first destroyed after completing over 210 operational hours. We’re all thinking that this business will fold up shortly. Eight Patrols and one escort carried out this day. 1st operation – 2 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties with 2 early returns, one mechanical, one escort; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties; 8th operation – 6 sorties; 9th operation – 6 sorties.
Thursday, May 3, 1945
A cloudy day, with armed recces and dive bombing sorties carried out in the Schleswig area and Lubeck Bay. 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties with 1 early return, one mechanical trouble; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties. Much flak encountered, with MET, shipping attacked.
Friday, May 4, 1945
Five shipping strikes carried out, 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties, 5th operation – 6 sorties. That evening, there was a celebration with the news of the Canadian Armies in the north being victorious and the surrender of the enemy. Just Norway and southern Germany to clean up now. The bar was thrown wide open, and guns of every description were firing away in the small hours in celebration.
Saturday, May 5, 1945
A rather wet, rainy day, and a rest for the Squadron after the heavy night spent celebrating the armies’ victory. The day was spent in quarters, reading, playing cards and a general discussion on the future of our Squadron, and the occupation of Germany. No operational flying carried out this day.
Sunday, May 6, 1945
Another rest day for the Squadron, most of the pilots remaining in quarters reading and playing cards. A few of the nearby towns visited by motor to pick up a few war souvenirs. No operational flying carried out this day.
Monday, May 7, 1945
The war in Europe is over, the much-awaited announcement regarding Norway and southern Germany’s surrender coming through to-day. Much discussion on what’s to become of the Squadron now, as a move to a new location had been pending up Denmark way. J19939 F/O A.J. MacLaren who went missing on the 23rd April has been reported safe, ex-prisoner of war. The boys were really glad to hear this news. J29144 F/O F.W. Town proceeded on a No. 2 Fighter Leader’s Course at Tangmere. One escort of Dakotas to Copenhagen – 12 sorties.
Tuesday, May 8, 1945
One escort of Dakotas to Copenhagen this day – 6 sorties with 2 early returns; mechanical trouble, with the flying down to practically nil, the boys are stepping out and seeing a bit of the country around here, Hamburg, Hanover and many other places in the vicinity. This day has been declared the official V-E Day.
Wednesday, May 9, 1945
No. 83 group has declared to-day and tomorrow a holiday for the Wing, with just skeleton staffs working, as a result of the Victory in Europe. No operational flying this day. The Squadron is to be decreased to 18 pilots, giving those with long service overseas preference and those near tour completed. Most of the old gang will be leaving now for repatriation in the near future.
Thursday, May 10, 1945
The recent holiday for the Squadron, no operational flying carried out. A very warm day, many of the boys scouring the country in motors that didn’t have the chance to do so before. The swimming pool that Jerry had here is being put into shape for the use of the Wing, and some activities are being organized to keep some of the idle hands busy. Baseball, educational classes and entertainment.
Friday, May 11, 1945
No operational flying to-day, but a lot of practice formation flying was done in the area. A beautiful warm summer day and the swimming pool is now in use. A grand place to spend a hot sunny day. F/L L. Foster, F/L J.C. McLeod, F/L R. Morris, F/L R.A. Morrison, F/L F.B. Gillis, F/L J.W. Gilmartin, F/O R.C. Shannon, F/O Leslie have all been slated for repatriation with the decrease of the Squadron which will soon come into effect. P/O G.K. Lindsay has been recommended to be taken off the Squadron for non-Operational flying.
Saturday, May 12, 1945
A formation show was pulled off today, flypast in parade at Bremerhaven in combination with 126 and 122 Wings, 12 sorties. Another clear and very hot day, the pilots all putting on their trunks for a half a day at the swimming pool.
Sunday, May 13, 1945
No operational flying, a very hot day was spent around the quarters and lying in the sun. Much discussion continued about the Far East campaign and what part this Squadron will take in the post war period. We all want a change of location, since the airfield is far away from any towns and we are pretty well confined to the station area for our amusement.
Monday, May 14, 1945
Another formation show in List area; 12 sorties. A very hot day, and a new baseball team emerging from the Squadron.
Tuesday, May 15, 1945
One formation fly-past in the Kiel-Schleswig-Hohn area – 12 sorties. The weather remains beautiful, and a practice of the ball team was organized this afternoon. The boys are showing off some nice sunburns from the hot sun and getting that healthy look.
Wednesday, May 16, 1945
F/L L. Foster flew back a brand new FW 190 to the aerodrome today, making his appearance with a beautiful roll over the deck. The weather remains hot, and the swimming still in full swing. No operational flying, but a little practice formation flying was carried out.
Thursday, May 17, 1945
A very hot day, this German sun is sure creating some healthy looking tans. 403 Squadron was victorious over 416 Squadron in the league game, winning 8 to 4. The old timers on the Squadron are anxiously waiting word on their repat’s now, but the Far East question seems to be causing the delay in the final word coming through. More practice flying, no operations.
Friday, May 18, 1945
F/L A.E. Fleming is making an excellent job of Squadron Commander, in the absence of our C.O. S/L Zary, who is in hospital suffering from pleurisy, and will be laid up for quite some time. F/L Dove, who was involved in a motor accident, is still seriously ill and not expected to return to the Squadron. No operational flying, but more practice flying to keep the boys occupied.
Saturday, May 19, 1945
S/L Zary and F/L Dove have both been requested to be posted non-effective, as there isn’t much hope of either recovering within a reasonable time, or returning to the Squadron. A very warm day, more practice flying, with no operational flying. The baseball team has scored a few more victories, 403 keeping well to the top of the league. Just the old spirit in everything tackled.
Sunday, May 20, 1945
A quiet Sunday, with no flying carried out in the Wing. A few of the pilots out on the Wing Church Parade, the rest of the day was spent in reading and playing cards. The weather is turning a little cooler and no one is using the swimming pool to-day.
Monday, May 21, 1945
XXXXXX a Blucher aircraft for its use, and given its first test flip today. A little faster than the Auster and a few will be checked out on her this week.
Tuesday, May 22, 1945
A quiet day in the Squadron, weather remaining cool with some rain. Paris and Brussels leave is opening up on a little larger scale, which gives some of the boys the preference of seeing some of the Continent rather than the U.K. No operational flying, some more practice.
Wednesday, May 23, 1945
A dull, rainy day, low clouds and drizzling most of the day. The boys were down to get a little more practice flying in, but were in the air but for a short time due to weather. A Squadron party is being planned for the sake of the old timers who will be leaving us in the next few days and it is intended to be a real bust-up.
Thursday, May 24, 1945
A big night in the Squadron, holding a special dinner and celebration for the send-off of the seven pilots who are getting their repatriation to Canada. A real success, with F/L Fleming, our acting CO, presiding over the dinner as Master of Ceremonies. All the old ‘characters’ were made to give a speech, after a bottle or two of champagne, with singing over the piano and jokes afterwards.
Friday, May 25, 1945
Many sore heads around from the night before. A rather dull day, scattered showers. More practice flying, it is getting a bit monotonous for those who have to remain here. Much discussion taking place on the coming announcement on the repatriation policy for the Canadians, which is expected to appear in the next copy of Wings Abroad.
Saturday, May 26, 1945
The Squadron and Echelon had a group picture this afternoon, prior to the departure of the pilots leaving here. F/L L. Foster, F/L R. Morris, F/L W. Gilmartin, F/L J.C. McLeod, F/O D. Leslie, F/L P.A. Morrison, F/O R.C. Shannon departed by Dakota for the U.K. and will be repatriated – all of them have been credited with first or second tour completed.
Sunday, May 27, 1945
A complete day of rest in the Squadron, with a Church Service conducted in the morning. A dull day, with a few of the pilots taking the afternoon for motoring and seeing a little more of the country around here. The repatriation scheme has been published, and much discussion on when we’re all going to get out of this country. Three pilots, F/L C.L. Rispler, F/O J.R. Baker and WO R.C. Neitz have indicated their desire for volunteering for the Pacific Theatre of War.
Monday, May 28, 1945
The weather still unsettled, but warming up considerably. Posting advice for F/L F.B. Gillis has been received for repatriation to Canada. He will be leaving May 31st. More practice flying, but not enough to keep the fellows fully occupied. The Squadron is hoping for a move into more civilised parts soon, anywhere away from the desolation of the airfield.
Tuesday, May 29, 1945
Advice has been received that F/L A.E. Fleming, former Flight Commander of ‘A’ Flight, is being slated for Squadron Commander, to replace S/L H.P.M. Zary who is being posted non-effective sick. Official confirmation hasn’t been received of this change yet, but all the fellows are keen on ‘Al’ taking over, rather than some outsider. S/L Zary has been moved to England and will remain there until sufficiently recovered from his ailment.
Wednesday, May 30, 1945
A very hot day, with the boys getting just a little ‘bored’ in being kept at this airfield with no more ops to fly. Baseball and swimming are filling up the idle hours amongst the pilots, and leaves on the Continent are being taken advantage of more so than in the past. More practice flying, the Squadron strength now being down to 20, with four non-effective, making it possible to fly pretty well all the pilots on every show.
Thursday, May 31, 1945
S/L A.E. Fleming officially takes over the Squadron, his promotion and effective date going back to the 16th of May. This should call for a party, say the fellows. A formation practice carried out, in combination with the other Squadrons, making a very nice show. Nothing exciting happening these last ten days, but the boys are in good spirits and ready to tackle anything that may come along.
Total Number of Operational Sorties for Month of May, 1945 – 218
No. 403 Squadron strength and flying times for the month of April 1945
Officer – Flying 11 Officer Ground – 2
Airman – Flying 7 Airman Ground – 3
U.S.A. Personnel Nil
Flying times for Month Aircraft on Strength
Operational Hours 281.30 TD 114 SM 316
Non-Operational Hours 204.30 TD 141 TD 286
Auster Nil TD 257 SM 421
486.10 SM 285 TB 630
SM 190 TD 289
TD 229 TD 130
SM 308 TB 752
Casualties for Month
Enemy Casualties for Month
1 FW 190 Damaged J87255 F/O D. Leslie 1-5-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed R176795 WO Neitz R.C. 1-5-45
2 FW 190 Damaged R176795 WO Neitz R.C. 1-5-45
1 FW 190 Probable Destroyed J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon 1-5-45
3 FW 190 Damaged J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon 1-5-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed J39160 F/O R. Young 1-5-45
2 FW 190 Damaged J22222 F/L C.L. Rispler 1-5-45
1 HE 111 Destroyed J29144 F/O F.W. Town 2-5-45
(A.E. Fleming), Squadron Leader,
No. 403 Squadron (RCAF)
Friday, June 1, 1945
J6718 F/L W.I. Gordon has been posted to the Squadron from No 416 to take over the Flight Commander position, ‘A’ Flight. ‘Rocky’ is well known to the boys of the Squadron, and a welcome addition to our depleted strength. After nearly two weeks of practice formation flying, 403 is making some fine efforts in the air, and it’s believed that some important formation fly pasts are coming up in the near future, displaying fighter strength. A leave centre for a limited number of officers has opened up at Biarritz on the Rivera which, in peacetime, was rated as one of the finest. The Mollyneux Estate is the name of the buildings taken over, and a few of the fellows are anxious to get down there before the possibility of leaving the Continent. F/L E.O. Doyle and F/O A.V. ‘Van’ Sainsbury have been recommended as Flight Commanders, both have considerable operational experience.
Saturday, June 2, 1945
P/O K. Lindsay brought back a scrounged engine for our German Blucher aircraft. With an engine change now in the making, the kite should be in top shape. Many of the boys can been seen doing their own laundry jobs out in the field on the warmer days, now that working hours are very light. Weather remains warm. Baseball is still going strong and, while some of the days are deadly quiet for the boys, morale is good and, somehow or another, they manage to put in their time reading, playing cards and with station entertainment. Flying the Blucher is also putting in quite a few of the after supper hours. One formation fly-past at Kiel to-day, 12 sorties.
Sunday, June 3, 1945
A quiet day of rest for the Squadron, some attending the morning Wing Church parade service. A motor trip was organized to Bremen, six of the boys going down in the Jeep. Dispersal readiness was called at 04:30 am for the first shift, 08:30 to noon on the second shift. Pretty early for a Sunday, but then most dragged their blankets down to dispersal and finished their snooze there. No flying carried out this day.
Monday, June 4, 1945
More practice flying, weather remaining fair. Warrant Officer R.C. Neitz received notice of his commission to-day, dated back to 28th February/45. ‘Dick’ was dragged down to the bar, and on account of all that back pay, a few bottles were opened in his room. He sure is proud of that thin stripe – it’s been more than five months since a commission has occurred in the Squadron. What a gang – several beautiful women are appearing on the walls of our Jerry camp quarters, anything to keep occupied – some say the place is ‘getting to them’. A little fraternization would be the answer to all the pilots’ hearts, or a move to a livelier spot.
Tuesday, June 5, 1945
The Canadian Government policy on the future of the RCAF serving overseas has been announced, with all personnel having to sign a declaration showing their preference of continuing service either in the Far East, Occupation of Europe, or Western Hemisphere. Also, whether releases from the Services was desired. Most of the fellows showed a marked preference for release and return to the Western Hemisphere. Still have only three pilots who have shown a desire for continued service and have volunteered for the Eastern Theatre. Lectures are going strong in the Unit in all subjects, which are compulsory for the pilots to attend. Armament, Flying Control, Maintenance, Sighting are but a few of the subjects covered.
Wednesday, June 6, 1945
An uneventful day in the Squadron. 83 group, having declared a day of rest in remembrance of ‘D’ Day. It is a good hot day, some rain. Swimming and other competitive sports having been arranged between the different sections of the Wing. The little Blucher aircraft which the pilots snatched from a nearby ‘drome has had her engine-change and overhaul, and practically every pilot in the Squadron is being checked out. Even the adjutant is becoming ‘air-minded’ with this new aircraft, and getting a little dual time. Many of the Echelon boys are being taken up in the off hours in the evening, getting their first trip in a German aircraft.
Thursday, June 7, 1945
A hot summer day, and very quiet in the Squadron. The latest Canadian policy on the RCAF overseas has more or less blown over, with F/L W.I. Gordon in addition to F/O Neitz, F/O Baker and F/L Rispler signing up for the Far East, making a total of four from the Squadron who have volunteered. None of the pilots have shown a first preference for remaining with the Occupation Forces on the Continent. Formation fly-past over Copenhagen – 12 sorties.
Friday, June 8, 1945
A fair day, but still the monotonous and quiet in the Squadron. The general topic these days is repatriation to Canada and the pros and cons for volunteering for the Far East. Pilot’s lectures are still continuing as is regular practice in formation flying. The boys have worked on the kites, and have painted all the nose spinners red, white and blue. Looks very effective when flying in formation at low level. Some of the other Squadrons are following our idea, with different colour schemes. The Wing mobile laundry is now taking ten pieces of clothing a week, but ironing remains the responsibility of the fellow. Some of them should make good wives when they get home.
Saturday, June 9, 1945
More forms to be filled out, this time by repatriation group members and preferably showing all personnel by trades, ranks and order of priority in repatriation groups and continued school preference. Let’s get started with the repats and forget the paper work is the general cry. Several of the fellows have taken up the cue, displaying latent artistic qualities decorating their rooms with gorgeous women. What with fraternization and outside social life completely cut off, who can blame them. J90428 F/O J.R. Thomson and J29646 F/L P.C.V. Martin reported to the Squadron, being transferred from 443 to bring up our strength.
Sunday, June 10, 1945
Briefing at 0730 this morning – seems they like to pick Sundays for the bigger events. Strength display in formation fly-pasts for the Russian Forces at Frankfurt, landing twice at Venlo. Otherwise a quiet day on the Station, usual church services being attended, reading, and cards still occupying most of the spare hours. Total sorties – eight.
Monday, June 11, 1945
Rumours are going around about our Squadron’s early return to Canada, now that 126 Wing have been slated as the Occupation force to remain on the Continent. Too good to be true is the general belief. A fair day, usual routine, no flying this day.
Tuesday, June 12, 1945
No flying again, weather is remaining very unsettled, raining off and on. Day was spent attending lectures and around the billets, which fortunately are quite comfortable and cosy on these wet damp days. J42953 F/O L.A. Pike reported to the Squadron from No. 443. We are gradually getting our replacements in for all the lads repatriated last month.
Wednesday, June 13, 1945
Another rainy and stormy day, no flying carried out in the Squadron. More sitting around and generally, pretty monotonous for the fellows. Cards, reading, and listening to our several radios are the favourite pastimes. J85322 F/O Ditchburn transferred from No. 416, and J93433 P/O E.C. Trumble transferred from No. 421 Squadron, reported in to-day.
Thursday, June 14, 1945
Another windy and stormy day, no flying done. F/O Silver went on leave to Copenhagen; it has been some little while since anyone has been able to leave, being short-handed before the new arrivals reported in. Our adopted City, the City of Calgary, has not been sending much in the way of smokes, and generally very quiet out Canada way. The Squadron has had a group picture printed, and are sending that along with an autographed Squadron crest, to remind them we’re still our here, and the war far from won. Generally very quiet around the airfield.’
Friday, June 15, 1945
A little practice flying carried out to-day, the beginning of a training plan to go into effect right away. Several ground subjects, as well as gunnery and navigation will be included in the training scheme while remaining here on the Continent. More vacancies for officer’s leave at Paris, Cannes, Biarritz and Brussels are eagerly looked forward to, but as yet only very limited numbers have been able to get away with the small quotas allotted to the Wing.
Saturday, June 16, 1945
A little practice flying this afternoon, the weather still not settled, windy and cool. Very quiet around the Squadron generally. F/S Barbour R.E. and WO Watchorn K.S. have been called for interviews by the A.O.C. with respect to commissioning. Both Bob and Ken got their little bit of ops in before the show closed down in this country, and it is hoped that the P/O comes through for them both.
Sunday, June 17, 1945
Very quiet around here, with the usual Church Service for the fellows in the morning. The Squadron was on dispersal readiness from 12 noon to 22:30 hrs. A dull day, and little doing in the way of activity outdoors.
Monday, June 18, 1945
A practice formation trip from base to Lubeck for a Copenhagen flypast rehearsal. On the return from Lubeck a practice interception exercise was carried out with Mustangs between Bremen and Flensburg. This is being marked up as operational time for the fellows. First operation – 11 sorties, second operation – 11 sorties.
Tuesday, June 19, 1945
A very hot day with the Copenhagen fly-past pulled off. First operation, base to Lubeck – 10 sorties with one early return – mechanical trouble; second operation Lubeck, fly-past Copenhagen and back to Lubeck – 9 sorties; third operation from Lubeck to base – 9 sorties. A laundry service for the officers has been organized on the Unit, with half a dozen German girls brought in to do the work. At last the fellows are walking around with ironed shirts on their backs.
Wednesday, June 20, 1945
A very quiet morning with some practice flying carried out. The afternoon was spent in competitive sports against the sections of the Wing. Still no definite news of a move from our present location, or what’s to become of ‘403’, which is the topic of much discussion these last days.
Thursday, June 21, 1945
Another hot day, more practice flying, firing into the sea, and simulating ship attacks. The boys are being right up to the mark with the present training program. Swimming is going strong with this hot weather upon us, as well as sun bathing around the pool.
Friday, June 22, 1945
No flying carried out to-day. G/C Turner is attending a conference in London, and on his return a lot of questions pending are expected to be answered. Especially what the policy is for fighter pilots in the Far East, and whether the Squadron is going to wind up.
Saturday, June 23, 1945
More practice flying in the morning, and an exceptionally hot day. Everyone was outdoors in the afternoon, with the whole Squadron down at the swimming pool. Sailing is also being organized around Hamburg, and the Squadron has produced two or three who have some gen about the handling of sailboats. Generally, it’s very quiet, with not enough to keep the fellows fully occupied, due mainly to our location.
Sunday, June 24, 1945
A restful Sunday around the quarters, with cards and reading taking up the good part of the day. Quite a lot of swimming is going on. Some of the boys are even more ambitious, and are making up their own swimming trunks with some scissors, thread and cloth. No flying this day.
Monday, June 25, 1945
To-day we finally learned that NO. 403 is to be disbanded around July 1st. Two of the Squadrons of the Wing are to make up the Occupation Wing remaining in Germany, the other Squadron remaining attached to the Occupation Wing for a short indefinite period. We are to move direct to England, and eventually return to Canada, less those who have volunteered for the Occupation Forces, and possibly those with low priority on the repatriation scheme, who are expected to be posted to the Occupation Wing NO. 126. About half of the fellows should be returning home to Canada almost immediately, and a few later on. Postings and further movement orders are being anxiously awaited. A few trades are also not being released for reason of replacements, which is pretty hard to swallow for those affected.
Tuesday, June 26, 1945
A little more practice flying. A very unsettled day, cloudy and windy. Generally a quiet day, with the posting advices eagerly awaited.
Wednesday, June 27, 1945
An unsettled day, raining the greater part of the daylight hours. The Squadron Orderly Room preparing for the closing down of the Squadron, generally getting all records and documents sorted for eventual disposal. Nil Flying this day.
Thursday, June 28, 1945
A Board for the Disposal of Records and Documents and Correspondence for 403 has been formed to examine all such documents prior to disbandment. Posting advices have been received for the pilots, seven posted to No. 421 Squadron as follows: F/O E.C. Trumble, F/L A.V. Sainsbury, F/O A.A. Roy, F/L W.N. Dove, F/O R. Young, WO Hallett D.H. WO Ryder L.C. Seven pilots posted to 443 Squadron as follows: F/O J.R. Baker, F/O M. Silver, P/O G.K. Lindsay, WO Arsenault J.A. WO Barbour R.E. WO Pickering J.C. WO Watchorn K.S. The other pilots have either a very high repatriation priority or volunteered for the Far East and Occupation of Europe. S/L A.E. Fleming, F/L E.C. Doyle and F/L C.S. Yarnell are the only three shown with high priority for repatriation and are expected to return to Canada. Twenty other officers and two airmen pilots have been posted to the Squadron and will return to England for sorting out. No more practice flying.
Friday, June 29, 1945
A dull rainy day with a little practice flying. Most of the fellows are cleaning up and running around with clearances, in preparation for leaving the Wing.
Saturday, June 30, 1945
The fellows were up at 0345 hours this morning to take their turn at dispersal readiness. No flying whatsoever carried out this day, the weather remaining unsettled, with many rain storms. A circus is being presently being put on for service personnel at Hamburg and a number of the boys have taken this in. Pretty fair entertainment and an opportunity for some time off the Station.
Total number of Operational Sorties for the Month of June 1945 – 82.
No. 403 Squadron strengths and flying times for the month of June, 1945
Officer Flying – 30 Officer Ground – 2
Airmen Flying – 2 Airmen Ground – 3
U.S.A. – nil
Flying Times for Month
Operation Hours 88:25
Non-Operational Hours 218:20
Auster – Nil 306:45
Casualties – Nil
Aircraft on Strength
TD114 RK893 TD289
TD141 SM308 TB922
TD257 SM316 TB130
SM285 TD286 TB752
TD343 SM421 TB300